Original Research

Seasonal variation in species richness and abundance of waterbirds in Mole National Park, Ghana: Implication for conservation and ecotourism

Timothy K. Aikins, Francis Gbogbo, Erasmus H. Owusu
Koedoe | Vol 60, No 1 | a1466 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v60i1.1466 | © 2018 Timothy K. Aikins, Francis Gbogbo, Erasmus H. Owusu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 March 2017 | Published: 02 October 2018

About the author(s)

Timothy K. Aikins, Department of Animal Biology and Conservation Science, University of Ghana, Ghana; and, Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Management, University for Development Studies, Ghana
Francis Gbogbo, Department of Animal Biology and Conservation Science, University of Ghana, Ghana
Erasmus H. Owusu, Department of Animal Biology and Conservation Science, University of Ghana, Ghana


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Mole National Park is the largest and the oldest national park in Ghana and an important bird area, yet its waterbird fauna is poorly documented because it is situated in the northern ecological zone far away from the coast of Ghana. Information on the seasonal variation in the park’s bird abundance and diversity is generally patchy but necessary for effective birdwatching planning and management of the park’s birds. Therefore, as a guide to potential ecotourists interested in waterbirds, this study described the seasonal variation in waterbird species diversity and abundance at Mole National Park. As waterbirds mostly congregate around open wetlands and their abundance is more appropriately determined by counting all individuals in the congregant, data were collected using the total area count of waterbirds from August 2015 to October 2015 (the wet season) and from December 2015 to February 2016 (the dry season). Secondary data on arrival of tourists in the park were also analysed. The park’s waterbird species richness was 29 in the dry season compared to 18 in the wet season. There was significant difference (p < 0.05) in the abundance of waterbirds in the dry season in which 4014 waterbirds were encountered compared to 646 in the wet season. The yearly tourist arrival data at Mole National Park shows an increasing trend with peak visitation period occurring during the wet season. The chances of tourists encountering more species and numbers of waterbirds in the park are higher in the dry season compared to the wet season.

Conservation implications: Species richness and abundance of waterbirds in Mole National Park varied according to the wet and dry seasons with both the number of species and abundance higher in the dry season than the wet season. It is therefore indicative that most birdwatchers who visit the park in the wet season miss out on a number of species and numbers of waterbirds. To achieve effective birdwatching, management should schedule birdwatching activities to coincide with the dry season as the chances of encountering more species and numbers of waterbirds are higher.


Keywords

Species diversity; Tourist; Wetlands; Northern Ghana; Wet and Dry Seasons

Metrics

Total abstract views: 271
Total article views: 137


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.